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**in an Oklahoma Wind Power Tutorial Series
**

By Tim Hughes, Environmental Verification and Analysis Center, The University of Oklahoma

**Calculation of Wind Energy and Power
**

Calculating the energy (and later power) available in the wind relies on knowledge of basic geometry and the physics behind kinetic energy. The kinetic energy (KE) of an object (or collection of objects) with total mass M and velocity V is given by the expression: KE =

½ * M * V2

(1)

Air parcel

Now, for purposes of finding the kinetic energy of moving air molecules (i.e.:wind), let's say one has a large air parcel with the shape of a huge hockey puck: that is, it has the geometry of a collection of air molecules passing though the plane of a wind turbine's blades (which sweep out a cross-sectional area A), with thickness (D) passing through the plane over a given time. The volume (Vol) of this parcel is determined by the parcel's area multiplied by its thickness: Vol = A * D Let ρ (the greek letter 'rho') represent the density of the air in this parcel. Note that density is mass per volume and is expressed as: ρ = M / Vol and a little algebra gives: M = ρ * Vol

A

Air flow

D

Now let's consider how the velocity (V) of our air parcel can be expressed. If a time T is required for this parcel (of thickness D) to move through the plane of the wind turbine blades, then the parcel's velocity can be expressed as V = D / T, and a little algebra gives D = V * T. Let's make some substitutions in expression no. 1 ( KE = Substitute for M ( = ρ * Vol ) to obtain: KE =

½ * M * V2 )

½ * (ρ * Vol) * V2 ½ * (ρ * A * D) *

V2

And Vol can be replaced by A * D to give: KE = And D can be replaced by V * T to give: Leaving us with: KE = KE =

½ * (ρ * A * V * T) * V2 ½ * ρ * V3 * A * T

In fact. Future lessons will cover these topics. Calculate WPD for this wind turbine. Assume there is a wind blowing with a constant velocity V of 10. WPD will be discussed more in later lessons. What is the wind power density? (again.225 kg/m3) 3.225 kg/m3). The other is that by dividing power by the area. diameter). there is no dependence on size. calculate the volume and mass of a 1 meter thick parcel of air passing through the plane of the turbine blades (for this exercise. so the power available from our air parcel can be expressed as: Pwr = KE / T = (½ * ρ * V3 * A * T) / T = ½ * ρ * V3 * A And if we divide Pwr by the cross-sectional area (A) of the parcel. (14 m.windpower.htm Sample exercises: 1. The term for the quotient Pwr/A is called the "Wind Power Density" (WPD) and has units of watts/m2. An excellent treatment of Wind Power Density and other wind power related concepts can be found at this web location: http://www.org/tour/wres/enerwind. efficiency or other characteristics of wind turbines when determining Pwr/A.0 m/s through the blades of the turbine described in no. assuming the same conditions as given in Exercises 1 and 2. 1. A smaller wind turbine which produces about 50kW has a blade rotor radius of 7 m. power is just energy divided by time. then we are left with the expression: Pwr / A = ½ * ρ * V3 Note two important things about this expression: one is that the power is proportional to the cube of the wind speed. For a wind turbine with rotor diameter 43 meters (a typical size for a 600 kW turbine). assume ρ = 1. In other words. assume a value for the air density of 1. we have an expression on the right that is independent of the size of a wind turbine's rotor. Pwr/A only depends on (1) the density of the air and (2) the wind speed. 2.Now. • • • • Air Density Determining Estimates of Wind Power Density (WPD) and Wind Power Classes Determining More Accurate Estimates of Wind Power Density How Turbine Differences Affect Power Output .

2.: Easy! Remember that WPD is independent of turbine type or size.) Ans.0 m/s)3 Vers.) Ans. the same as calculated in exercise no. (or ~3900 pounds . ½ * ρ * V3 ½ * 1. as will be discovered in future lessons) 3. And its mass equals the volume of air times air density: M = ρ * Vol = 1.: the volume of this disk of air equals its cross-sectional area A ( = ¼ PI * Diameter2 ) times the disk's depth (D): Vol = ¼ * 3. Hence. Date:11/11/00 .Answers to sample exercises 1.225 kg/m3 * (10.: WPD = Pwr / A = = = 613 watts/m2 (this is an excellent value for WPD.) Ans. the WPD is still 613 watts/m2.about the weight of an intermediate car!) 2.225 kg/m3 * 1451 m3 = 1780 kg.1416 * (43 m)2 * 1 m = 1451 m3. and only depends on wind speed and density.

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